The Museum of Extraordinary Things: A Novel Paperback – Sep 30 2014
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“Hoffman’s book earns its legitimacy through an eye-opening plethora of period detailing, coupled with the author’s overarching outrage at urban workplace abuses….You can’t help but admire the author’s fervor for telling stories and the democratic manner in which she disseminates the love of reading.” (Jan Stuart The Boston Globe)
“A lavish tale about strange yet sympathetic people, haunted by the past and living in bizarre circumstances… Imaginative…Once Coralie and Eddie discover each other, their profound, mystical attraction and mutual obsession become forces of their own, driving the story forward.” (The New York Times Book Review)
“Spellbinding…Hoffman’s penchant for the magical is on full display in this world filled with rogues, strivers, corrupt politicians, Gilded Age riches and debilitating poverty. The chaos and grandeur of New York City at the time make it a character in its own right, as monstorous and intoxicating as the circus sideshow that traps Coralie and makes her a star.” (Andrea Walker People)
“Alice Hoffman employs her trademark alchemy of finding the magical amid the ordinary in her mesmerizing new novel.…If you're looking for an enchanting love story rich with history and a sense of place, step right up to The Museum of Extraordinary Things.” (USA Today)
“The year 1911 had an apocalyptic feel in New York City as fire devastated the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in Greenwich Village and destroyed the amusement park Dreamland that rose above Coney Island. Manhattan wasn’t yet entirely tamed by concrete and people still believed in the fantastical. Alice Hoffman, whose brand of magic realism really should have a patent pending, makes lovely work of the era in her new city-centric novel, The Museum of Extraordinary Things.” (Sherryl Connelly New York Daily News)
“Hoffman masterfully creates two characters of depth and emotion in Eddie and Coralie….[She] does not disappoint .” (Amanda St. Amand The St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
“The Museum of Extraordinary Things, like Ragtime, is packed with history and mystery, an introspective and full-bodied fairy tale for adult readers.” (Julie Bookman Atlanta Journal Constitution)
“Alice Hoffman's storytelling magic is on abundant display in her new novel….Hoffman expertly weaves the future lovers' monologues with a third-person account moving through the spring of 1911 to create a wonderfully rich narrative tapestry. Her prose is as lyrically beautiful as ever, evoking the teeming complexity of New York ….The action-packed story line sweeps through labor strife, a missing Triangle worker eventually fished from the Hudson, the exposure of her murderer and a bravura plot twist that reveals the truth about Coralie's mother.” (Newsday)
“Fans of Hoffman will not be disappointed. Lush imagery, extensive use of period details, well-drawn, and vivid prose make this a sumptuous read…a rich reading experience.” (The Seattle Times)
"Part Ray Bradbury and part Steven Millhauser...the delicate balance between the everyday world and the extraordinary is balanced more in favor of the world we know, though not many writers describe that world as elegantly as Hoffman does....First-rate...Vividly drawn...Hoffman gives us extraordinary things and extraordinary times. And more." (Ed Siegel The Artery, WBUR)
“[Hoffman is] a master of craft and a lover of language. Each sentence shows precision and deliberation….The Museum of Extraordinary Things lives up to the ‘extraordinary’ of its title, a work of passion that celebrates a place and an era even while it explores a particularly dark moment in New York’s history.” (Zach Powers The Savannah Morning News)
“Classic Hoffman: a bewitching world of time and place (in this case, Coney Island and its boardwalk freak show in the early 1900s) suffused with magical moments, a mysterious disappearance and romance.” (Darcy Jacobs Family Circle)
“A mesmerizing new novel about the electric and impassioned love between two vastly different souls during the volatile first decades of the 20th century.” (Publisher's Weekly)
“Hoffman breathes fiery life into an enrapturing fairy tale and historical fiction mash-up….Ravishing…Dramatic…Hoffman unveils both horror and magic in this transfixing tale of liberation and love in a metropolis of lies, yearning, and metamorphosis.” (Booklist (starred review))
“The Museum of Extraordinary Things is the mesmerizing new novel about the electric and impassioned love between two vastly different souls in New York during the volatile first decades of the twentieth century.” (Ann McDonald Red Carpet Crash)
“In The Museum of Extraordinary Things, Alice Hoffman mounts an arresting display: a New York City tale rich with literary inspiration, history, and urban legend. Readers often talk about being immersed in novels; this is a satisfying swim in tidal waters. Take the plunge.” (Gregory Maquire, author of Wicked and Out of Oz)
“Alice Hoffman understands and delivers the ordinary and the extraordinary in this contemporary novel of the past. As always, her powerful, elegant prose embraces tremendous passion with constant, clear-eyed compassion.” (Amy Bloom, author of Away)
"As always, Alice Hoffman amazes me with her ability to use words the way other master artists use watercolors, painting the dreamlike world of a girl who grows up in a hall of wonders only to learn that something as ordinary as love is the greatest marvel of all. Many novels these days are called 'stunning' but this one truly IS: part love story, part mystery, part history, and all beauty." (Jodi Picoult, author of The Storyteller and Lone Wolf)
About the Author
Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including The Marriage of Opposites, Practical Magic, The Red Garden, the Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on Earth, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, and The Dovekeepers. She lives near Boston.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The second storyteller is an Orthodox Jew, a refugee from the Ukraine who lives with his father and both work in the textile mills in Boston. A young boy on the verge of rebellion at the beginning. He renounces his faith when he believes his father tried to commit suicide.
It is a time in New York when men were in charge and women were treated as possessions, a time when class distinction was not only strongly defined but often corrupt and hidden crime was rampant, a time when 'hired' help was more often than not mistreated. Also a time of workhouses where children and women were forced to work for a pittance and often accidents occurred. Such is the case when a fire breaks out while the workers are locked within. You thought this happened only in other countries? Murders and assaults occur while eyes remain closed. This is New York in the 1800s and early 1900s. Manhattan was not much more than a swamp at certain times of the year. Coney Island was just becoming the famous park and beach it would one day be. For the boy who renounced his faith he has found beauty in nature. For the girl living at the museum, she has found horror. Will the two ever be able to find each other in time?Read more ›
That period just before the First World War in and around New York City, is full of pathos, hope and prosperity. I tend to like that pictured in a literary way. I listened to this book, and it was great to have a voice for each main character.
I have good thoughts about this book and I’ll recommend it readily.
full review at: http://drewrowsome.blogspot.ca/2014/04/the-siren-song-of-museum-of.html
I have always enjoyed Alice Hoffman's story telling. I would highly recommend this book.
But that doesn’t mean there weren’t monsters. In fact, before the lovers even meet, we’re introduced to a series of monsters. Coralie’s father, for instance, was a terrible man. (“My father didn’t approve of women authors, and he most assuredly would not have approved of Miss Brontë” Blasphemy!) Some of the things he did without a second thought were horrifying. He was more of a monster than the actual monsters he collected for his museum and the way he exploited Coralie was deeply disturbing.
But even in the most deprived lives, there are savours and for Coralie, she found salvation in the Hudson River, their housekeeper Maureen and most of all, in her young and blossoming love with Eddie.
As I said, this is a beautifully dark love story, one that began to develop after a brief glimpse into the other’s life. That’s all you get in the first half of the book, Coralie and Eddie cross paths ever so briefly, but an intense bond is formed in those brief moments and though they don’t set sight on each other for some time after, their souls are intertwined. The mere thought of Eddie, the hope that Coralie’s love for him gives her is what love stories are all about.
Taking cues from history and focusing on two huge fires in New York, The Museum of Extraordinary Things deals with some hot and heavy tones, but somehow manages to remain somewhat innocent and hopeful. And really that’s the beauty of it, a magical realism that sweeps you into a dreamland, a dark reality that doesn’t quite seem real. (originally posted on citygirlscapes.com)
Most recent customer reviews
Alice Hoffman is my favourite author and I am never disappointed with her stories. Always rich with magical characters and unusual situations, always a book that I can't put down... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Denise Best
This novel is very Dostoyevsky like, it's dark, damp clammy. I wanted to rush through the details to get to what would happen to the different characters. Read morePublished on April 29 2014 by Colette